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pakowitz 04-17-2003 05:37 PM

Horn has 'positive' contract negotiation

Horn has 'positive' contract negotiation

3-year deal possible with $7 million bonus

Thursday April 17, 2003

By Jeff Duncan
Staff writer

Joe Horn braced for battle when he and his agent Ralph Vitolo entered General Manager Mickey Loomis' office Wednesday to begin negotiations on a contract extension.

But Horn's apprehension was quickly alleviated. What he thought would be an adversarial experience was actually cordial.

By mid-afternoon, the negotiations at the Saints' training facility had progressed so well that Horn left the meeting to visit with Coach Jim Haslett and assistant coach Hubbard Alexander.

No deal was completed, but Horn left feeling more optimistic than ever that a deal will get done.

During the three-hour meeting, several options were discussed, but the two sides appear to have settled on a three-year deal that averages between $4.5 million and $5 million a year and includes a signing bonus in the $6 million to $7 million range. The deal would place Horn among the 10 highest-paid receivers in the league.

"Everything was positive today," said Vitolo, before boarding a 6 p.m. flight back to his home in North Carolina. "Diligent efforts were made by us and the Saints to reach a deal. It's going to take a little time and there's nothing in stone yet, but we like the direction we're moving in."

Horn is entering the final two years of a four-year contract. He is scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.7 million this season. He renegotiated his initial four-year, $11.2 million contract in 2001. As part of the renegotiation, the club also extended the deal by one year. The contract was reworked again in May to help the club clear room under the salary cap.

Horn says former General Manager Randy Mueller promised to rework his contract after the 2001 season if he made the Pro Bowl again. He earned a Pro Bowl invitation after catching 83 passes for 1,265 yards and nine touchdowns but didn't play in the game that year.

In three seasons with the Saints, Horn has averaged 88 catches, 1,305 yards and eight touchdowns, by far the three most prolific seasons by a receiver in club history.

"Of course, I think I'm worth $100 million and should be paid like a top 5 receiver," Horn said. "What I've done on the field the last three years speaks for itself. But I also understand that Mickey Loomis has to do what's best for the team. He's a negotiator."

In a show of his displeasure, Horn has skipped the club's offseason conditioning program, risking a $100,000 workout bonus in the process. If a deal isn't reached, he said he plans to skip the team's first minicamp May 2-4.

"Hopefully it won't come to that," Horn said. "I'm a team player and I want to be here. But unfortunately this is a business, and I have a wife and kids to support. I hope we can get this deal worked out because I love New Orleans and I want to play here for the rest of my career for the Saints."

DONE DEAL: The final numbers have been reported on the five-year, $8.75 million contract tight end Ernie Conwell is expected to sign today. The deal includes a $2.1 million signing bonus and pays Conwell base salaries of $800,000 this season, $1 million in 2004, $1.2 million in 2005, $1.675 million in 2006 and $1.975 million in 2007. Conwell's salary cap value is $870,000 this season.

D_it_up 04-17-2003 05:46 PM

Horn has 'positive' contract negotiation
Me, Pak, and JOESAM must\'ve been posting about Horn at the same time :P

JOESAM2002 04-17-2003 06:05 PM

Horn has 'positive' contract negotiation
Looks like, but Pak\'s entry had more info than mine. LOL Good work Pak.

BlackandBlue 04-18-2003 07:49 AM

Horn has 'positive' contract negotiation

tactical manuer
Is this some new weapon Iraq has developed using midgets and cattle?

JOESAM2002 04-18-2003 11:24 AM

Horn has 'positive' contract negotiation
Midgets and cattle? LOL :o

iceshack149 04-18-2003 10:44 PM

Horn has 'positive' contract negotiation
Joe Horn is a terrific receiver. The best that the Saints ever had. But why do these millionaires have to say \"I have a wife and kids to support.\"? Give me your salary for a year and I\'ll support my family forever.
Regardless, I love upping the ante when you have a great hand. Horn has the Saints offense saying \"You complete me.\" He\'s proven his worth and that deserves recognition. (I wish my employer would give me that kind of recognition$$)
Now if he would do something about that goofy T.D. dance of his. It\'s bittersweet to watch. I hate to watch, but I realize that if he\'s doing it, we just got 6.

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